Thursday, May 23, 2013
Crimson Countdown: Kenny Bell
By Alex Scarborough
During the summer, TideNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Alabama roster -- excluding the Tide's 2013 recruiting class -- in our Crimson Countdown series. Starting with No. 1 Dee Hart, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Brandon Ivory.
Kenny Bell, when healthy, is perhaps Alabama's best deep threat.
Expectations for 2013: If he can return to 100 percent and remain healthy throughout the season, Bell will be Alabama's best home run threat in the passing game. There's been no better receiver over the last two years at stretching the defense vertically than Bell. His 25.4 yards per catch last season was the best in college football among receivers with at least 15 receptions. He'll continue to provide the same straight-line speed off the bench in 2013 as one of several weapons offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will have at his disposal in the passing game.
Best-case scenario: Barring an injury to the likes of Amari Cooper or Kevin Norwood, Bell's impact will be felt primarily off the bench and during multiple wide receiver looks, which should be fairly common this season as head coach Nick Saban continues to seek more explosive plays from his offense. And with so many capable receivers such as Cooper demanding the attention of the safeties, Bell should be able to take advantage of one-on-one matchups in the secondary.
Worst-case scenario: Nothing is necessarily guaranteed at the receiver position, even for a guy with as much experience as Bell. He'll have to fend off a few speedsters in their own right as reserves Christion Jones, Chris Black and DeAndrew White all vie for playing time. With at least six receivers demanding the ball, someone will be left wanting.
Future impact: Thankfully for Bell, the injury that caused him to miss the final few games of last season wasn't the result of a damaged ligament. If it were, there would be significant questions whether he'd be back to full speed for his final hurrah at Alabama. But broken bones heal, and in due time, Bell will be his old self.